Moritz Steinschneider (1816 – 1907)

Moritz Steinschneider (1816 – 1907)

Moritz Steinschneider (1816 – 1907)

In 1848, a Moravia-born Talmudist named Moritz Steinschneider was charged with the preparation of the catalogue of the Hebrew books in the Bodleian Library at Oxford, a work which was to occupy him for thirteen years. Steinschneider’s Bodleian catalog, along with his catalogs of the Hebrew manuscripts of five large European libraries (Bodleian of Oxford , Leyden, Berlin, Minsk, and Hamburg) opened new horizons for Jewish studies, as he unearthed numerous treasures of Jewish literature and culture which had previously been hidden. From 1860 to 1869 he served as a representative of the Jewish Community in the Berlin courts, where he administered the Jewish Oath more judaico. Steinschneider missed no opportunity to protest against this remnant of medieval prejudice. In 1872 and 1876, he refused calls to both the Berlin Hochschule für die Wissenschaft des Judentums and the Rabbinical Seminary in Budapest, holding that the proper institutions for the cultivation of Jewish science were not the Jewish theological seminaries, but the universities.

Die hebraeischen uebersetzungen des mittelalters und die Juden als dolmetscher

Berlin, 1893. LBI call number Z 7070 S83 H4

Steinschneider’s magnum opus about Jewish translations of the Middle Ages shows how Arabic and Hebrew writers were instrumental in the transfer of classical Greek knowledge to Europe and Western culture. A far-ranging study of writings on subjects that went beyond purely Jewish interests, this work demonstrated the decisive contribution of both Jewish and Muslim writers to Western Civilization.

Sorry, comments are closed for this post.